Grand Traverse Bay

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Grand Traverse Bay
East Arm of Grand Traverse Bay
East Arm of Grand Traverse Bay looking west from Elk Rapids toward Old Mission Peninsula
Grand Traverse is located in Michigan
Grand Traverse
Grand Traverse
Location within the state of Michigan
LocationGrand Traverse County, Michigan[1] Antrim County, Michigan[1] Leelanau County, Michigan[1]
Coordinates45°04′N 85°29′W / 45.06°N 85.48°W / 45.06; -85.48Coordinates: 45°04′N 85°29′W / 45.06°N 85.48°W / 45.06; -85.48
TypeBay[1]
Part ofSt. Lawrence Watershed
Primary inflowsBoardman River, Elk River
Primary outflowsLake Michigan
Surface elevation581 feet (177 m)[1]
IslandsPower Island

Grand Traverse Bay is a bay of Lake Michigan formed by the Leelanau Peninsula in the northwestern Lower Peninsula of Michigan. The bay is 32 miles (51 km) long, 10 mi (16 km) wide, and up to 620 feet (190 m) deep in spots. It is divided into two arms by the Old Mission Peninsula. The entire bay is conterminous with the Grand Traverse Bay Bottomland Preserve. It should not be confused with Grand Traverse Bay of Lake Superior, located on the Keweenaw Peninsula.[2]

Geography[edit]

Traverse City is situated at the south end of the bay where the Boardman River empties into the west arm. Cherry orchards line the bay region, giving rise to Traverse City's claim to be the Cherry Capital of the World. Several nationally known companies offer cherry-based products made with Northern Michigan tart cherries including Traverse Bay Farms, Cherry Central, Fruit Advantage, American Spoon, Cherry Republic and Old Mission Traders (formerly Cherry Stop). The region is the center of cherry production in Michigan.

The Grand Traverse Bay includes an East[3] and West[4] arm and several important smaller bays: Northport Bay, Suttons Bay, Omena Bay, Bowers Harbor, and Old Mission Bay. Northport Bay, located at the northwest corner of Grand Traverse Bay is about 10 mi (16 km) long and 4 miles (6.4 km) wide. Northport Bay open to the east, except inside the arms at each end, with the Leelanau Peninsula on the West side. There are several shoals in Northport Bay marked by buoys. Bellow Island, a low gravel island covered by shrubs and located near the middle of Northport Bay, is owned by the Nature Conservancy; it is primarily known as a bird rookery, and is sometimes locally called Gull Island.

There are several marinas on the bay, including the large marinas in Northport, Greilickville, Traverse City, and Elk Rapids.

The Grand Traverse Lighthouse at the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula, which anchors the bay to the west.

Communities[edit]

An inferior mirage over the bay

Islands[edit]

  • Bellow Island (colloquially known as Gull Island)
  • McAllister Island
  • Helver Island
  • Wilhelm Island
  • Power Island (largest island in the bay, also known as Marion Island)
  • Bassett Island
  • Tucker Island
  • Swaney Island
  • Parallel Island (situated on the 45th Parallel)
  • Esson Island
  • Regal Island
  • Blussy Island
  • Norwood Point Island

Etymology[edit]

Grand Traverse Bay earned its name from 18th-century French voyageurs who made la grande traverse,[a] or "the long crossing", across the mouth of bay. The area was owned by the French, followed by Great Britain as the Province of Quebec. After 1776, the area was owned by the Americans.[6] On Old Mission peninsula, Rev Peter Doughtery started the first permanent settlement in 1839. This was called "Grand Traverse"[7], but was later renamed to Old Mission.

Shipwrecks[edit]

[8]

  • A.J. Rogers
  • Metropolis
  • Shale Scow
  • Yuba Wreck
  • Tramp
  • Elmwood
  • Nyord
  • Barge

Culture[edit]

Besides cherries, the surrounding countryside produces grapes and is one of the centers of the Michigan wine industry. Known for its shimmering blue water and golden sand beaches, the Grand Traverse Bay region is a popular vacation destination.

In September 2007, Mark Holley, an underwater archeologist with the Grand Traverse Bay Underwater Preserve Council who teaches at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City, said that they might have discovered a boulder 3.5 to 4 feet (1.1 to 1.2 m) high x 5 feet (1.5 m) long) with a prehistoric carving in the Grand Traverse Bay. The granite rock has markings that resemble a mastodon with a spear in its side. Confirmation that the markings are an ancient petroglyph will require more evidence.[9] The stone is pictured on page 9 of New Scientist Magazine of July 19, 2008.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In modern standard French, traverse no longer has the sense of 'crossing'—which is now traversée.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Grand Traverse Bay
  2. ^ "Traverse Bays". www.geo.mtu.edu. Retrieved July 7, 2017.
  3. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Grand Traverse Bay
  4. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Grand Traverse Bay
  5. ^ "traverse" (in French). Centre national de ressources textuelles.
  6. ^ "Grand Traverse Bay". Michigan Historical Markers. Retrieved October 28, 2010.
  7. ^ Norton, Mike (April 15, 2014). "Exploring the Past in Historic Traverse City".
  8. ^ "Grand Traverse Bay Underwater Preserve". www.michiganpreserves.org. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  9. ^ Flesher, John (September 4, 2007). "Possible mastodon carving found on rock". Associated Press. Archived from the original on September 4, 2007. Retrieved April 6, 2015.

External links[edit]